We Also Recommend
By some time in the early Talmudic period, the doctrine of an afterlife for the individual had become quasi‑canonical. This is established by two texts.
The Mishnah Canonized Belief in Resurrection
Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:1, first, stipulates that only three sorts of Israelites do not have a share in the age to come: “the one who says that the resurrection of the dead is a teaching that does not derive from the Torah, [the one who says that] the Torah is not from heaven; and the Epicurean [Hebrew: apikores].”
Some (probably earlier) versions of this text read the first category to be simply one who denies the resurrection of the dead. The Talmudic phrase for the eschaton (last things, or afterlife), olam haba, is typically translated as either “world to come” or “age to come,” with olam having either a spatial or temporal reference. This author prefers the temporal designation: the eschaton can sometimes signify a new “world,” but it always signifies a new “age.”
The Amidah Already Proclaims Belief
The second text is the Gevurot (God’s “mighty acts” from Heb. gibbor, “mighty”) benediction of the Eighteen Benedictions, the second of the introductory three benedictions that are used in every single version of the Amidah, that, to this day is recited at least thrice daily by the worshipping Jew.
The benediction celebrates God’s mighty acts. In its current form, it reads:
You are eternally mighty, O Lord.
You revive the dead: great is your power to
(You make the wind to blow and the rain to
You sustain the living with compassion: you
revive the dead with abundant mercy.
You support the falling, heal the ailing, free
the captive: and maintain the faith with those
who sleep in the dust.
Did you like this article? MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.